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The PIDB Announces the Upcoming Public Release of its Report to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System

by on November 21, 2012


The Public Interest Declassification Board is pleased to announce the completion of its report, Transforming the Security Classification System.  The President asked that we study the security classification system and make recommendations for its transformation to better meet the needs of users in the digital age.

The report will be released to the public on the Board’s website on Thursday, December 6, 2012.

The Board consulted extensively with experts from the Government Openness advocacy community, civil society and transparency groups, archival researchers, and technologists and solicited opinions from distinguished civil servants, Executive department and agency officials and the Congress.  Our efforts were designed to gain a broad perspective on issues confronting the classification system and led to the fourteen core recommendations in this report.

The classification system exists to protect national security, but its outdated design and implementation often hinders that mission.  The system is compromised by over-classification and, not coincidentally, by increasing instances of unauthorized disclosures.  This undermines the credibility of the classification system, blurs the focus on what truly requires protection, and fails to serve the public interest.  Notwithstanding the best efforts of information security professionals, the current system is outmoded and unsustainable; transformation is not simply advisable but imperative.

We believe transformation will require a White House-led steering committee to drive reform, led by a chair that is carefully selected and appointed with specific authorities granted by the President.  In anticipation of the report’s release, we will re-engage our followers by re-opening our blog, Transforming Classification, where we will post summaries of some of the key recommendations in the report beginning Monday, November 26, 2012.  Be sure to stay connected to the Board’s activities and look for more information about the Board on our website: http://www.archives.gov/declassification/pidb.


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